DANNY Ford backs Nico Covatti to have no problems slotting in at number two for Pirates, believing the Argentine will “take it in his stride”.

Covatti, previously riding at reserve for Poole, has this week been pushed up into the main body of the septet following the arrival of Thomas H Jonasson to replace the injured Richie Worrall.

Arriving on a 4.64 average, Jonasson will take a reserve spot, meaning Covatti moves the position vacated by Worrall, with Pirates mainly operating rider replacement for the Merseysider ever since he fractured his ankle in a collision with teammate Covatti back in June.

Covatti has shown good form in recent weeks, scoring seven points in defeat at Wolverhampton on Monday, and Ford believes he has the quality to ride at two, starting tomorrow against Ipswich at Foxhall Stadium (7.30pm).

Pirates so-promoter Ford told the Daily Echo: “Nico’s had a few off meetings, but we know what Nico can do and he’s an absolutely fantastic rider.

“It’s going to be a bit more pressure on him in the fact that he’ll be in the main body of the team but also we won’t have to always rely on him to score those massive points at reserve.

“Nico’s been in the main body of teams before, it’s no change for him.

“Last season at Somerset he was, so it’ll be nothing new to him. I’m sure he’ll take it in his stride and he’ll look to push on.”

Tomorrow will see the return of Jonasson, who previously rode for Poole during the 2011 and 2013 seasons, helping them lift the league title on both occasions.

Recalling his memories of the Swede during those years, Ford said: “I just remember him being an absolutely fantastic rider and would give his all every heat, so that’s all we can ask.

“He’s been up there with the best in his years and I remember him being an absolutely fantastic member of the team when he was around for us back then. Absolutely looking for him to hit the ground running and help us push into the play-offs.”

He added: “Being able to call on Thomas in a time that we need to improve the team is absolutely fantastic.

“We were relying heavily on our top four this season and Nico at reserve. In the past couple of meetings it’s become evident more than ever that we needed to bolster that team.

“Just in case any of the boys do have an off day we’ve got someone who can step up into their shoes.”

Following back-to-back defeats, Pirates have slipped behind Swindon in the league table, but do have a meeting in hand. They head to Ipswich tonight, who sit third, locked on 39 points with both Pirates and Robins.

Witches have also adjusted their squad this week, adding Niels-Kristian Iversen and James Sarjeant.

“Iversen is world class,” said Ford.

“Everyone knows what he’s capable of. He’ll come in and I’m sure he’s going to be banging in some big points.

“I believe they’ve strengthened their team, so it’s going to prove a really tough test.”

Pirates will operate rider replacement for the injured Josh Grajczonek, who suffered injuries to his hand and hip in a crash at Wolverhampton on Monday.